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Fighting the Noble War, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
November 11, 2020 3:00 am

Fighting the Noble War, Part 2

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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November 11, 2020 3:00 am

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It is consistent with false teachers, false elders, false pastors, false prophets and apostates that they attack the person the work and the preaching and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ they will do that because they are energized by Satan and Satan's attack is against God and his Christ, they are agents. Satan they know about get a reference to any number of Hollywood productions or two works of art that portray the devil with horns and Dragon like wings and a pitchfork, but the true nature of spiritual warfare is much more subtle and more dangerous than you may realize effect. If you're Christian you are likely to face serious battles simply by sitting down to study God's word will see what I mean is John MacArthur looks at how Satan operates and what it takes to overcome spiritual assault. The title of John series here on grace to you spiritual warfare. John will be in the book of first Timothy today so turn there if you're able, in first Timothy chapter 1, I want to read those verses for you beginning at verse 18. This command I commit unto the son Timothy, according to the prophecies which pointed to the that thou by them might fight a good warfare holding faith in the good conscience which, some having put away have made shipwreck of the faith of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander whom I have delivered him to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme. The key phrase that we noted is at the end of verse 18.

Fight a good warfare or fight unknowable warfare and we reminded you last time that Paul is calling Timothy to the awareness that he is engaged in a war. Now Paul knew about this intimate warfare and he calls Timothy here in first Timothy chapter 1 to the same conflict to be aware that he is engaged in a serious spiritual battle. In fact, he calls Timothy to fight on the front lines in effect Timothy's task as outlined in chapter 1 is to confront the false pastors, false elders, false leaders, false teachers in the church at Ephesus and surrounding areas. No doubt, confronting both their doctrine and their ungodly practice.

Paul knew it wasn't an easy task.

And even though he had given Timothy instruction as to that task. When he was with Timothy in Ephesus. He now writes him a letter reinforcing that because he knows it is a difficult task, and he calls Timothy in these three verses by way of a summary to fulfill that task as if he were a front-line soldier called to a very hot part of the battle to do something very essential for the matter of victory for the whole army.

So these three verses some Timothy's responsibility and accountability to this matter of fighting unknowable warfare.

Now Timothy as I said does not have an easy task because in the church at Ephesus there has come in encroaching a group of leaders who are the agents of Satan and they are sowing false doctrine everywhere and they are not only advocating error but they are advocating evil they may not be overtly advocating evil, but that's the way it comes out.

They are advocating an untrue doctrine and an ungodly lifestyle and so Timothy is called to deal with this and it's a difficult thing is not dealing with someone down the line in terms of spiritual responsibility, but with leaders just to remind you of what the issues were let me remind you of basically two things they were attacking the truth. That is, they were attacking sound doctrine and they were attacking godliness notice. For example, in chapter 2. It seems as though they were even attacking the person of Christ by what Paul says to Timothy in verse five of chapter 2, there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all to be testified in due time. For this I am ordained a preacher and an apostle.

I speak the truth in Christ and lie not a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity now apparently from that we can ascertain that there was some kind of an attack on the mediator ship of Christ some kind of attack on the sufficiency of Christ.

Some kind of attack on the work of Jesus Christ. We find it again indicated in chapter 3 verse 16 he says it is without controversy, that the mystery of godliness is a great mystery. It is unarguable that the mystery of God in human flesh, which is what he means the mystery of God coming in human flesh is a profound mystery.

It is a great mystery and this is that mystery God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the spirit, seen of angels preach some of the nations, believed on in the world and received up into glory and there sort of chronicles the life and work of Christ and again seems to be saying what this is difficult, but this is the true, the incarnation of God in Christ and then we find also in chapter 6 and verse 13 verse 14. Rather, he speaks about the Lord Jesus Christ at the end of verse 14. Then in verse 15 he says, which in his times he shall show, and then describes Christ as the blessed and only potentate, the King of Kings and Lord of lords who only has immortality that makes him God dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto whom no man has seen nor can see, to whom be honor and power everlasting. Amen. In other words, affirming and asserting the deity of Jesus Christ.

So apparently the deity of Christ was under attack the person of Christ was under attack, the incarnation of God in Christ was under attack, the sufficiency of Christ is the mediator was under attack and attack on Christ.

Furthermore, it was not only attack on Christ but an attack also on the saving Gospel of Christ back in chapter 1, instead of the gospel instead of true doctrine of verse four it says these false teachers were teaching fables or Jewish myths and endless genealogies, which don't do anything but serve to raise questions rather than answers. They bring no godly edification at all, they're not. According to the true faith. Verse five they don't have a good conscience and unfeigned faith.

They are turning aside, they are swerving. He further says they they not only pervert the gospel but they pervert the law. Verse seven. They think themselves to be teachers of the law. The truth is they have no idea what they're saying or what they're affirming so dogmatically, so they were attacking the saving Gospel of Christ.

Verse 15 of chapter 1. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, as if some were not accepting it, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief and they may have been advocating some salvation only for the legalistic elite salvation only for those who can keep a certain standard. And so again we see them attacking the gospel further that verse 17 the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God be honor and glory forever and ever is again an affirmation of the true God. All of these things speak about an attack against sound doctrine we find in chapter 2 that it is good and acceptable in verse three in the sight of God our Savior, who will have all men to be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth. Perhaps they were denying the sufficiency of of salvation for all men. Perhaps they were denying the availability of salvation for all men and in chapter 4 verse one it says they were teaching doctrines of demons that came from seducing spirits and causing some to depart from the true faith, the faith that alone saves verse two. They were speaking lies in hypocrisy and so Timothy is enjoined repeatedly in this epistle to preach sound teaching is over against the unsound teaching. So here were these men who had risen to the heights of leadership and they were teaching lies teaching lies about Christ teaching lies about his saving Gospel and they were in a place of authority with all the right credentials you looked at the Los Angeles times. One day there was an article on the front page in the left-hand lead column an article chronicling a meeting together of supposedly all the New Testament scholars and they were going to vote on whether what Jesus said was really true they were going to vote on that. As if that's something that you are supposed to vote on what is so sad about that is that these are all people who have masqueraded as teachers of the New Testament and who know not what they teach, nor the God of whom they speak, but they have no right in the world to vote on the veracity of the words of Jesus Christ to even assert that such is necessary is to attack the credibility of the word of God and the Christ of God, and that is and that is an exact terms what their intent is they are attacking the truth of Christ and the truth of the saving Gospel is consistent with false teachers, false elders, false pastors, false prophets and apostates that they attack the person the work and the preaching and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ they will do that because they are energized by Satan and Satan's attack is against God and his Christ, and so it comes in the mouth of false teacher. They are not just well-meaning souls who have slipped a little in their understand they are agents of Satan. Now the second thing that we see in first Timothy is not only an attack on the truth about Christ and his work, but an attack on the virtue of life that is godly living and biblical morality back in chapter 1 verse five it says that they are not.

Those who experience love and a pure heart and a good conscience and faith on things they don't have any integrity of character they're not pure their consciences are not clear in a clear conscience.

As a result of a pure life, a pure heart, but they've turned aside from those things and they may well be being described in verses nine and 10 as lawless, disobedient, ungodly sinners on holy profane murderers of fathers and mothers men slayers fornicators homosexuals kidnappers liars per jurors and so forth their morality match their doctrine.

It was as in error, as was their theology. They like those of whom we read in verse 19 that shipwrecked the faith they in verse 20 had blasphemed. That is to speak evil of true of the true God. In chapter 2 we find verses 8 to 10 that women had substituted outward adornment for inward godliness. In verse 10 says they would rather provide godliness with good works than outward array we find also in chapter 4 that Paul reminds Timothy that he is to be a good minister and he is to nourish up in the words of faith and good doctrine to which he is attained and then refuse their profane and old wives, fables, and then this and you exercise your self rather on the godliness for bodily exercise profits, little but godliness is profitable and all things their preoccupations with the external and the outward in the physical and he says you better put yourself in line to exercise that which leads to godliness.

Remember I told you that godliness is a keyword in the pastoral epistles chapter 5 we find the same thing in verse 11 there were younger widows who were 110 against Christ. Verse 12 they threw away their first faith. Verse 13 they were idled they were going around from house to house instead of staying in their own homes and doing what they were called as women of God to do and they were tattler's or talebearer's busybody speaking things they shouldn't. In verse 15. Some already turned aside after Satan and that has to do with their behavior and even some of the leaders of course were leading in this and that's why they needed to be disciplined as he goes on to speak of that in chapter 5, chapter 6, verse one speaks of the name of God not being blasphemed nor his doctrine being blasphemed which indicates that there were some blasphemous things going on, there were all kinds of arguments verse four disputes in the strife railing, evil suspicions perverse disputing's of men of corrupt minds, destitute of the truth, supposing that money is godliness, but godliness with contentment is great. In other words, they had perverted doctrine, and purity of life. That's the point. And that's where the attack was coming so you have two things, error and evil error and evil and Timothy is called to confront this at high places. In fact if you look at chapter 3 verse 15 verses deal with the qualifications for leader. Those are not put in a vacuum. They're not just dropped in here without any relation to context.

They're here because they're putting as a contrast they're putting is a contrast, there were all kinds of people.

Verse one desiring the office of overseer. There were many people wanted to be in spiritual leadership. It says here they desire the office of the oven overseer in chapter 1 it said they desired to be teachers of the law they want to be teachers and leaders.

But he says you you can't put them there unless they have these qualification, and I believe there there contrasted they must be blameless, rather than sinful and vile like the ones that you have. They must be one woman man rather than the men who are preoccupied with multiple women. They must be temperate and sober minded and good behavior as opposed to those who are not better in leadership. See all that is contrasted in chapter 5 verse 17 and following. He says when you find those that aren't what they gotta be.

You need to discipline them publicly before the whole church so Timothy is a real job. He needs to exercise out all these false leaders get them out of the church discipline them in the church called into an account called the people to rally around the truth of God's revelation and godly living. And that's not an easy task now in the midst of this fiery conflict. What is it the Timothy has to understand.

Well, he has to understand his responsibility and his accountability to three sources the church the Lord and then to the blasphemers or enemies themselves.

First of all, and for Timothy and us as well.

We learned the same lesson here in order to win.

In order to fight the noble fight the way it ought to be thought we have to first understand our responsibility and accountability to the church and that's what he says to Timothy off the beginning of verse 18. This command I commit to you, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which pointed to you that by them you might find a noble warfare. So the first thing is Timothy's responsibility and accountability to the church, let me say what I mean by that. Paul says this I command you. You have been entrusted and prophecies have confirmed that your to fight this noble war. Now all those refer to the church.

Paul as an apostle in the church commands Timothy to carry out a commission given to him by that same apostle and confirmed by those who had the gift of prophecy in the church has a responsibility to those within the church who were led by the Spirit of God to call him into the ministry to fulfill that ministry. First of all, let's look at the command word charge and he authorizes command. It refers to a military command a military command it's used in chapter 1. In that way it's used here.

That way, it is a military command. It is not something that is discussed, it is something that is given is in order to be carried out. Timothy is under military obligation. This is not isolated. Chapter 5 verse 21 Paul says, using a different Greek term, but the same meaning. 521 I command you speaking to Timothy before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things. That's pretty strong stuff. I command you, and I hold you accountable to God and Christ in the holy and elect angels. Chapter 6 verse 12 he says fight the good fight and so forth. And then in verse 13, I command you, and here he does use the same word as in chapter 1, I command you in the sight of God, who makes all things, alive in verse 14 that you keep this commandment without spot and unreviewable until the appearing of the Lord Jesus Christ.

So he is commanding Timothy like a general with commander Col. he is commanding him to do this. I love that because this puts Timothy's responsibility in the category of duty duty. Now I say that word immediately. I realize are many people to understand that duty. That's not a word we like to talk about. We don't know anything about that today. In Christianity we know about freedom. We know about spiritual success. We talk about joy and peace. We talk about fulfillment. We talk about sort of satisfaction from the spiritual and very indulgent but we don't know very little about duty very little about duty and you have a duty to worship God. Be faithful to whatever happened to just doing your duty. Just fulfilling your spiritual disciplines for the glory of God. Paul knew much of that X. 26. He says when I was confronted by the Lord Jesus Christ on the Damascus Road.

He's giving his testimony to agree places all group I was not disobedient to that heavenly vision and that heavenly vision was basically command from the Lord Jesus Christ. He said Paul basically I have made you a minister and an apostle of the Gentiles, and he says I was not disobedient.

Paul knew all about duty wall was on to me. If I preach not the gospel.

First Corinthians 9. I am duty-bound. I am under divine obligation to use my gift and fulfill my calling. You remember back in Exodus chapter 4 when God gave his duty to Moses, and Moses started equivocating and backing out bowing down and say all I can't do that I can't do this.

I can't speak enough. So for the so on. In the Lord was very angry with Moses because he wanted to shirk that which was a divine duty. God gave that duty to Isaiah, God gave that duty to Jeremiah.

God gave that duty to Ezekiel God-given duty to Jonah Iver what Jonah did with his duty what the other direction and wound up in a disaster because of look at Ezekiel 33 and I'll show you something. I think it's sad but true.

It reflects on the same thought you meant what Paul said to Timothy preach the word. Be instant. What NC is not a season that means when it's welcome. And when it's not welcome, whether they like it or don't like. I want you to see what is really a sad thing. Ezekiel chapter 33 verse 30.

Also the Son of Man, the children of thy people still are talking against the by the walls and the doors of the houses and speak one to another. Everyone to his brother, saying, I pray you and and hear what is the word that cometh forth from the Lord. People are all get together and say aloud, lets us go down here that that that profit boy that four guys down there, given that message from the Lord to scoop us go down here and they really not for him. There against him. It says that they want to go down here. He's a novelty. So it's coherent. Let's hear what he has to say and so verse 31 they come unto thee as the people come and they sit before thee as my people, so your mixed multitude got the ones were there near half taken in the word of God then you got these others and they sit there and they hear your words, but they will not do that.

They're not interested in responding. They won't do them with their mouth they show much love, but their heart goes after their kind, the listeners there interested in their bank account and their stocks and bonds and houses and cars and and land and growth and success in worldly things and with their mouth all they give you such nice things wonderful sermon pastor great all week. We just enjoy it, but they don't do what you say and you are under them as a very lovely song of one that has a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument. I miss very nice for the hear your words, but they don't do them. They like to hear you all your curiosity.

Ezekiel, but they don't do what you say. He preached his whole ministry to people like that but he preached faithfully while because he was under command was under command now back to first Timothy, that's exactly what Paul is saying to him, I command you, and on what basis on the basis of the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

I speak for God, I command you and Mendel listen today. There were some surly in the Ephesian church that didn't listen. And there are many today who won't listen.

Isaiah 6 God said to Isaiah, they won't listen. The rise of the blind. There is a B death or hearts will be fat and he will listen. And it's true. You preach your heart out you preach your heart out.

They don't listen that preaching today is somewhat depreciated, especially if you just preach the Bible all the time, but the command to Timothy was very simple. The command is to fight the noble war against the foes identify with Satan that's going to be using the word of God, and that's why all the way through the epistle is is you gotta nourish up in sound doctrine. So you have a command in spite of what men say.

In spite of what their faces look like in spite of the fact the come along, shake your hand, say how nice your thinking sound great. Don't do what you say you keep doing it and you call for the duty that God would have you call knowing biblical truth and clearly proclaiming that truth to others. Those are essentials for victory in spiritual warfare. That's the title John MacArthur's current study here on grace to you spiritual warfare along with teaching here on radio. John also serves as Chancellor of the Masters University in seminary in Southern California.

John you talk today about Timothy's call to be a pastor and a preacher that raises a question that we hear from time to time from some of our listeners there, wondering how to know if God is calling them to preach and so maybe you could shed some light on that. How would you respond to a young man who asked you that question. I have responded to that so many times through my life and that the answer is really simple and I go back to Timothy is the model of that Timothy had been recognized by the leaders of the church as gifted and suited for ministry. And remember, the apostle Paul system. There was a laying on of the hands of the Presbytery.

You need to live up to the gift that God has given you, which is confirmed by the laying on of hands of the Presbytery so II would say to a young man as I have so many times do. Do you feel that this is what you want to do with your life more than anything else. Is this a dominating thing in your life so that it says if there was no second option that I look at that from the standpoint that if you think you could do something else and it's kind of a tough decision to make. Go do something else because you wish you had because ministry stuff, but if it is a strong desire if a man desires the office of an elder or overseer a pastor.

He desires a noble thing so it starts with the driving heart desire and then secondly it's when the elders of the church come and say, by the way we want to encourage you in that desire because we see your giftedness there. Some people are going to say I want to preach. I want to preach and everybody who hears him says no I don't think you want to do that. So you have to have the desire, the burning and driving desire, but it also has to be confirmed by the people around you who affirm you on two levels. One, the character of your life and the capability of your gift. So listen to the leaders of the church at the master seminary. No student can come there to be trained unless the church affirms the giftedness of that young man and friend. If you're thinking about going into ministry or if you just want to lead your family better. I would encourage you to get John's book titled called to lead right now. During our fall sale. It's 25% off the normal price to place your order. Contact us today our number here 855 grace or go to our website de TY.org called to lead looks at 26 leadership lessons from the life of the apostle Paul showing you how to lead by example how to defend your integrity, how to handle adversity and much more to order call toll-free 855 grace or visit our website Jide TY.org and keep in mind called to me is one of hundreds of resources currently available at 25% off the regular price. So now is a great time to pick up the MacArthur study Bible, as well as books like the Gospel according to Jesus, anxious for nothing, the glory of heaven take advantage of our reduced prices available for a limited time. If you can do some Christmas shopping now to place your order.

Call 855 grace or shop online@jidety.org now for John MacArthur in the entire grace to you staff, I'm Phil Johnson reminding you to watch grace to you television this Sunday. Check your local listings were traveling times and then be here tomorrow when John continues to look at how you can defend yourself against Satan's attacks. Don't miss the next 30 minutes of unleashing God's true one verse at a time on grace to you


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